It’s easy to become numb to the news that yet another posh road wheelset has been released, claiming to be the lightest and most aero-est on the market. However, every now and then something which actually lives up to the hype arrives with us at BikeRadar HQ — the Roval CLX 50 wheelset looks like one of these exceptions.
While this unassuming set of wheels isn’t nearly as ‘unique’ looking as Zipp’s recently announced 454’s, the weight of these new hoops from the sister company of the big-S is what truly stands out. Read on to see what’s got us interested…
There finally seems to be some kind of consensus within the peloton as to what is a sensible depth for a set of all-round aero wheels, with mid-depth rims around the 40-50mm mark becoming the norm.
The Roval CLX 50 wheels are bang on trend, coming in at 50mm on the dot. Our set of rim brake wheels weigh in at an extremely respectable 1,416g without tubeless valves or quick releases (636g front, 790 rear).
This weight is actually 40 whole grams — or, if you prefer, a handful of bumble bees’ worth — over the claimed weight of 1,375g. However, even at this weight, the wheels come out as one of the lightest, mid-depth wheelsets on the market with a 144g saving over a set of Zipp 454’s. or 110g less than a set of ENVE SES 4.5’s.
Given that the rims measure up at a rather girthy 20.7mm wide (internal) — which should help to give modern, wider tyres a lovely plump profile, improving comfort and aerodynamics — this is quite a remarkable figure.
The wheels are tubeless ready out of the box with a sealed rim bed and, mechanics rejoice, the nipples on the Roval CLX 50’s are on show for the whole world to see — no faffing about trying to true wheels here.
In a whitepaper released to accompany the wheels, Roval claims that the CLX 50 wheels are “marginally, yet measurable faster than Zipp’s recently introduced 454 NSW while being lighter as well.” While we can’t argue with the weight, we’ll have to wait till we’re on the road to see if we can feel said marginal improvements.
The rims are laced with DT Swiss Aerolite spokes to Roval AF series hubs, which were designed in Specialized’s very own ‘Win Tunnel’, and are claimed to be among the most aero hubs on the market. These spin on slippery, CeramicSpeed bearings which Roval claims would cost around $600 alone as an aftermarket upgrade.
The hubs are built around DT Swiss’ ultra-dependable, 240s internals which should give years of hassle-free service. The end-caps can also be easily swapped on these hubs, so moving to a thru-axle bike should present no problems.
We’re looking forward to finding a bike which is comparably nifty to fit these to, then trying them out over the next few months. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review in the near future.
Pricing and availability is still TBA.